Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 2

There have been a couple challenges since beginning our volunteer work in Bulembu. The children had the first week that we were here off from school. Since there was no school, I could not volunteer there so instead of doing that, I have been helping with the work project that everyone else has been doing. I am happy to help out elsewhere in the town, but I haven’t had much experience doing the kind of work that they wanted us to do. We had to work with a painter to paint a house that would later be used for teacher or staff housing. This project put me out of my comfort zone, but I fully embraced it and gave it my all. I had to overcome my fear of heights and climb rickety ladders to paint the tops of the walls. We ended up finishing the house, inside and outside, in about 2 weeks. Another challenge that I had to face was the language barrier between our team and some of the Aunties that we were working with. For about a total of about three and a half weeks we worked with the babies and toddlers in the afternoons. There are multiple aunties in each of the baby and toddler homes and many of them only spoke SiSwati. It was difficult to get to know them and talk to them when we couldn’t understand them and they couldn’t understand us. Some of the other Aunties who did know English would help translate for us, but it was more difficult to bond with them. Once they became comfortable with us they began to teach us some SiSwati words and tried their best to use the little bit of English that they did know to communicate with us. By the end of the trip we all had overcome the language barrier and have become great friends. 

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